Allen County Commissioner Jim Talkington resigned Friday afternoon. He stepped down after he was confronted with allegations of inappropriate contact with a young woman through a series of Facebook messages. Commission Chairman Tom Williams was quoted in the Iola Register as saying Talkington displayed “proverbial predator behavior” and that his actions “would be grounds for dismissal in a business environment.” Two days earlier, Talkington was dropped as a volunteer color commentator on KIOL high school sports broadcasts after the messages were shown to station management. Members of the Allen County Republican Committee will nominate a replacement to fulfill the remainder of his term.
Quadruple murderer David Cornell Bennett Jr. received life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday. He was convicted for the murders of Cami Jo Umbarger and her three children in Parsons in November of 2013. The Parsons Sun reports that Bennett chose not to be in the courtroom for sentencing.
Truck drivers are concerned about a new truck route established by LaHarpe City Council last year. The Iola Register reports that Jason Schmidt of Nelson Quarries spoke to Council members Wednesday and contended that it is unsafe for drivers turning into town from U.S. 54. He explained that a tight corner atop a small culvert makes it impractical and unsafe for drivers. Council members encouraged the company to reach out to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
A former Pittsburg State University associate professor arrested for stalking and breach of privacy last year has been arrested again. The Pittsburg Morning-Sun reports that 47-year-old Peter Rosen was arrested Wednesday on charges of stalking and violations of a protection from stalking order. The paper also reports that reports Rosen has been arrested three times since a search in December found illegal videotaping of someone who was nude or nearly nude.
Users of the Humanity House Community Garden will once again be treated to free water for the 2018 growing season. The Iola Register reports that Iola City Council members have approved a request from Humanity House Director Tracy Keagle to forgive the first $1,000 worth of water used at the garden. The average the water bill for the gardening season is about $900. Humanity House is taking over the garden from Elm Creek Community Garden this year.
A house fire this week destroyed a mobile home that was the last known residence of a Chanute woman missing for two months. According to The Chanute Tribune, the fire at 1120 N. Grant early Tuesday morning is under investigation by the Chanute Police Department and the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. It was the last known residence of Marissa Craft, who was reported missing in December. If you have information, call the Central Dispatch office at 431-5768.
Iola residents may soon be given the option of adding a dollar or two to their utility bills to help fund the city’s parks, trails and recreation programs. The Iola Register reports that City Council members discussed a proposal to add $1 to each electric and water bill, giving the city a fund dedicated solely for parks and trails.
Much of Monday’s discussion centered on how to give customers the option to participate.
Also at the meeting, Council members also instructed City Administrator Sid Fleming to better clarify language changing the city’s personnel policy before they would sign off on it. The new personnel policy would transfer personnel matters over to the city administrator’s office, instead of the Council.
Council members directed Fleming to clear up two passages in particular, one dealing with six-month evaluations and pay raises for new employees; and another spelling out progressive disciplinary procedures.
A semi crashed and caught fire on the Kansas Turnpike near Emporia on Tuesday, killing the driver. The Kansas Highway Patrol says 58-year-old Thomas Andrew Sawyer of Temple, Texas, was southbound when he went off the highway about eight miles southwest of Emporia, just after 8:30 am. Sawyer’s semi hit an embankment, overturned and caught fire. Authorities blocked the outside lane of traffic for nearly eight hours.
The Allen County Farm Bureau has announced the new date for their rescheduled Legislative Update in Humboldt. It will be on Monday, February 26th at 5:30 pm in the basement meeting room of the Humboldt City Hall at 725 Bridge St. Four state legislators are scheduled to give updates on activity in the Kansas Legislature. Slated to attend are house members Adam Lusker, Larry Hibbard and Kent Thompson along with Dan Goddard from the Kansas Senate. The public is encouraged to attend and ask questions.
The positive growth going on in Humboldt has gotten a lot of attention in the last few months and the city finds it self featured once again. The Winter edition of Kansas Commerce magazine has a feature about the community service being done by B&W Custom Truck Beds. If you’d like to read it for yourself, we have a link to the electronic edition of the magazine posted on the Iola Radio Facebook page.
Reconstruction of US-169 from Earlton north through Neosho County will not be part of a project that will begin this year. The Chanute Tribune reports that the Neosho County portion is off the table for now and will be authorized when funding is available. The Allen County portion of the project is slated to begin in April.
Icy roads are being blamed for dozens of crashes throughout the state Saturday night, including three fatalities and a nine care pileup on I-135 in Wichita. One of those fatalities was in Osage County, where a car slid into two pedestrians in the median. One of the pedestrians, 49-year-old Robert Groh of Raymore, Missouri died from his injuries.
Iola City Council members will meet tonight and discuss more possible changes to the city’s personnel policies. One change would give the city administrator more power to hire and fire employees. The meeting will be tonight at 6 in the New Community Building in Riverside park.
Two farmers markets in our listening area are among the 12 selected statewide to be part of a program that boosts the availability of specialty crops. The Allen County Farmers’ Market in Iola and Humboldt and the Main Street Farmers’ Market in Chanute were both included in the Meet Me at the Market stipend program. It is overseen by The Kansas Department of Agriculture and provides market managers and vendors with resources to increase awareness of specialty crops available at their market. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.”
Next week, the Kansas Department of Transportation plans to begin a project to install tower lights at the interchange of U.S. 169 and 35th Street in Chanute. Traffic on the 35th St. bridge over U.S. 169 may be occasionally be reduced to one lane, with brief delays. Weather permitting, the lighting work should be finished in one month.